Love Stories: Chapter 5: Pragma

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Love Stories-neon2

Cover art by Katrina Nash of Yours Truly. Check out her work on Facebook and Instagram!

This is the sixth post of the Love Stories series. The pilot is here, Chapter 1 here, 2 here, 3 here, and 4 here.

TIH and I have also partnered up for a cool competition that you can be a part of, details are here. We look forward to hearing your stories too!


The word ‘Pragma’ has the same root as the words pragmatic or pragmatism, which means “dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations.” Pragmatic lovers have a notion of being of service to each other and a notion of working towards a love that is long standing or enduring, beyond the the initial excitement of love. This usually translates into expectations in a partner or relationship. It may look unromantic because it’s not impulsive nor chaotic, but rather discerning and reflecting.

Pragmatic lovers often have shared goals and values. I guess a good illustration of pragmatic love can be an arranged marriage, particularly at the time the partner is selected. (Man if I was more pragmatic and organised, I would have asked for a love story that started with an arranged marriage. But the following will have to do) One of my colleagues is in an arranged marriage and told a group of us about the process that he underwent. His family selected suitable mates and contacted the family. He was given the chance to have 15 or so minutes with the girl to see if there was initial attraction, “compatibility” and a view of the future. After this, either party could say no. He turned down two women before choosing his wife. We didn’t ask what compelled him to say yes to her, but he showed us a picture and she’s pretty! But I’m sure there’s more basis to it than that.

This is a clear representation of a pragmatic relationship, where impulse and passion aren’t the deciding factor, instead it is secondary to the pre-determined values and standards. Perhaps the passion comes later? The families choose a partner that is of equal (or similar enough) social status, practicing the same religion, has the same values and goals in life, represented by the social standing and life that their family leads. Then the lover is given a chance to choose their life partner, based on a conversation. I know this isn’t how all arranged marriages work, but this was my colleague’s experience.

The lover often has a clear idea of the kind of person they want to have as their partner. Another example is a celebrity who is trying to find the best partner to boost their status and press. Another is the single girl who is listing all the things she wants in her partner including height and hair colour. The lover believes that these chosen qualities will set them up to be in the best possible relationship.

Pragma seems like the grown up ludus. All the play is out of the way and has given way to a desire for a mature love, a love that isn’t as fiery or tempestuous. It isn’t a game, but you will do what you need to do to make sure this love works. This is the love after you’ve fallen in love to make sure you stay in love. So it can also look like a couple celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. One of my favourite quotes is this (I also write it in every wedding card I give :))

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.

– Fr Pedro Arrupe

It may sound boring or lacklustre, but there is a comfort and beauty in feeling safe in your relationship and being able to be vulnerable.

For today’s stories, I wanted to focus on one facet of pragma – the long-standing or enduring nature of it. I curate a few stories to illustrate this.

Enjoy, lovers.

Love and Opportunity

Like any other sibling story, on the outside you don’t really show physical affection to them. Especially in public, unless it’s to humiliate them. However, deep down, even though they can drive you nuts, you’ll do anything to protect them, care for them when they’re sick and help them out with their homework. The loss of my brother, made me realise how much he meant to me. There are so many things that I regret that I didn’t get to do for my brother. I don’t think I’ll forgive myself anytime soon for missing out on those opportunities. All maybe dark and gloomy, but it’s the happy memories that I got to make and spend with him that is making his mark and memory in my life a little bit brighter

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The biggest happy 21st birthday to my Angel Brother, Jose “Jojo”! 🎉 🎈You may not be with us anymore but you’re always in our hearts and missing you everyday. Hope you’re having an awesome party in heaven!🍺😇 #angelbrother

I love you still

Eleven short months ago, I became a mother to a beautiful little 8 pound girl named Elisabeth Marie. Looking back at all the preparations we made for her, the books we read, the conversations we had and decisions we made – there is nothing that could have prepared us for the incredible blessing we were about to receive.

When Elisabeth was born, my entire life was transformed. All of the sudden, I started to realise just how selfish I had been before her and how much time I had spent on myself. Every day she demands more and more of me, and somehow by God’s grace every day, I find more and more of myself to give. I have learned so much in the past year about parenting, life, but most of all love. A love that looks past the marmite-covered hands and cheeks and says “I love you still”. That looks at the toys strewn across the floor, with a trail track leading to somewhere she is not meant to be and says “I love you still”. A love that gets out of bed at 2am (and then again at 3:30, 4, and 5) to stick a soother back in her little mouth and says “I love you still”. That looks straight into the eyes of a little monster screaming in her highchair and says “I love you still”.

17198086_10158285047065463_242234296_nWhile I have never been on the “giving” end of this love before, I have definitely experienced it. This is the same love I see in my mother’s eyes every time she looks at me. The thought of this makes my heart sing as I dream about where Elisabeth will be 25 years from now because I know that I will still look at her the same way. I know that she will most likely fail as many times as she succeeds, she will make mistakes, she will choose the wrong thing from time to time. But she will always be my Elisabeth, she will always be my baby. And 25 years from now, although her cheeks might not be covered in marmite, I am sure that my whole being will still radiate with the same love that it does now. No matter where life takes her, I will be saying, “I love you still.”

The Passion



Picture by Odie Maunes

I want to start by congratulating my parents on your silver anniversary, managing not to kill each other or my brother, sister and me. I also want to thank all of you for being here today and helping us to celebrate this very special day for our family

I wasn’t there when the love story of my Dad and Mum blossomed (I came about 3 years and 9 months later ;)) but on every single account, especially my Mum’s, my mum was the typically hard to get Filipino girl

There is one story (that they’ve told us a few hundred times) when they were dating and had a massive argument, probably started by my mum, who stormed off the bus they were riding and into the crowded streets, leaving my Dad abandoned and lost.

Luckily, my Dad loved my mum enough to look for her and keep loving her.

The love story that I do know is a beautiful love story written by God. A love that as they grow older, the more in love they fall. On this day, 25 years ago, they probably thought they loved each other so fiercely and completely. That love does not compare to the love that they share now and the love they will have 25 years from now.

It makes me smile when I see the way that our Dad looks at our Mum, even though sometimes it makes my siblings and I embarrassed. Especially when they kiss in a photo booth and stick the photo on our fridge where our friends can see when they come over.

When we were much younger, we lived on the second level in an apartment and every day, my mum would know exactly when my Dad got home because she could “smell” him, even 2 stories up. My mum can’t even leave the house without kissing my Dad goodbye. My sister reminded me of a time when she and my mum were in the car about to leave to go to work. My Dad came out of the house, looking annoyed and when my sister asked, “What’s wrong with Dad?” My mum answered, “I haven’t kissed him goodbye yet.”

Mum and Dad, thank you for being an awesome example of love. Thank you for setting the bar high, showing us the kind of love that we should strive for and one that we deserve.

Separately, you are two amazing people, but together you are complete.

Please raise your glasses while I toast my Mum and Dad on 25 wonderful years.


Even now, coming up to their 30th anniversary, I see the love of my parents growing. I see how even at their age, they’re still growing as individuals, still pushing each other to be better and loving each other more because of it. I see how they enjoy each other’s company, whether traveling together, doing ministry together and when they have their way, just watching teleserye on the couch, cuddling.


At 22 years old, I am currently juggling four big priorities; Firstly, I work 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Secondly, I’m a student, studying business and events management. Thirdly, I have left the nest and have been living on my own for nearly 2 years now. As for the fourth… It is one of the toughest job in the world, and my biggest priority over all. Not a lot of people choose it at such a young age. I work every single day, for very very long hours. I usually juggle all four on the daily. It is physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and socially straining. I do not get paid over time or weekend rate. I actually do not get paid at all for this job, but it is the most rewarding thing a person could do. For my fourth priority is working for and serving a four year old girl – my daughter.

I am still quite young and have a lot to learn, but it’s fair to say that have experienced love in more ways than a young adult usually does. In my opinion love is a choice, rather than a feeling. To me that means, that no matter how one is feeling, what mood they are in, or whatever situation they are experiencing, they choose to love regardless. Whilst that is difficult to understand and do, being a mother has taught me just that.

Naturally, I did not choose to become a mum so young. I had all expected feelings one would get being 18 and pregnant. And so did my parents. I felt like a failure and a disappointment especially being the eldest child. So, I made a decision, and booked a very painful appointment.

Prior to this writing piece, I did not know what pragma love was. However, without even knowing what it meant, I realised that I have experienced “longstanding love” from my parents every day of my life. Even before I told them about the baby, this love was strong enough to change my decision. I knew how they would react and feel when I tell them I also knew my parents loved me no matter what. That’s when I realised that because I felt this longstanding love they had for me, I knew how I wanted to love my child in the same way.

A great deal happened during my pregnancy. Very emotionally traumatic series of events that I still carry with me. But the clearest memory I have during that time, was the day I chose to cancel that appointment. It was a Tuesday afternoon the day before my appointment in Liverpool. I remember exactly where I was sitting in the food court when I called the clinic. I remember her voice when she asked me why I wanted to cancel. I said: “I decided to keep the baby.” I remember the feeling of relief and joy happening on both ends of that call.

Word spread and my parents were the ones who did not leave my side the way others did. They taught me what love was about and I knew that I would always be in safe hands. How you love your children is different to how you love your partner, or your family and friends. In a romantic relationship, you find them, connect with them and then chose to love them. With your kids, it isn’t like that. With my daughter, I didn’t choose her. It didn’t seem that way at first, but there wasn’t even a choice to begin with. It was automatic.

The love that my daughter and I have has grown just like any other love. But the one thing that remained the same was that I do not need to choose her. The decisions I make – long term and short term has her right in the middle. Always. That means my career, my education, my lifestyle, my relationship choices and day to day activities, starts and ends with her. No second thought. At times, it does get too much that my whole world revolves around her. However, she never fails to make me feel like I am on top of the world being her mum – and that makes me I feel so powerful. Like I can do anything. It is her love for me that makes me feel superhuman. That I can move mountains for us, because I can and will.

There seems to be an unintentional recurring theme of choice here about my experience of pragma love. All the decisions I have made in my short-lived life, has lead me to the most fulfilling type of love that is so overwhelmingly powerful, that I cannot wait for those around me to feel the way I feel every day.

Falling in love is easy. Finding a person you genuinely connect with is a little harder. But it really is something different. When all the good that you have in you, all that you are as a person, a product of love that was created inside of you, is sitting right there in front of your eyes, learning to write her name. She is everything that love means to me – Kim the manifestation of my love.

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It’s hard to sum up everything I feel but I knew he was the one when I couldn’t take the stupid smile off my face, when I felt safe in my skin and that he would love me regardless of anything I did or said. Even when we fight I want to be with him.
Cass and Chris
 Photo by Captured Frames

PreviewI felt alone. Nobody understood. Nobody could see it. Nobody could feel it. I dropped out of school because I couldn’t keep up with school work, quit my job, stopped seeing friends. I felt like I had no future.

Check out the next instalment of Love Stories, “Pragma”, on Wednesday 7 June at 3pm AEST

Don’t forget to enter our competition with TIH! Entries close 9 June

Secret message: He is still annoyed that I didn’t tell him I liked him too as soon as he told me. But he said I didn’t have to say anything? I made him wait a few weeks, should’ve made him wait a year. 


Written by Candice

May 31, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Love Stories

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